Kabul, Afghanistan is not a city that lends itself to art events or secret film screenings - with its uncertain infrastructure and ubiquitous security emplacements, the threat of violence and instability is all too real. But a group from London, England called 'Secret Cinema' tried to reveal another, more light-hearted dimension of the city on Thursday when they held their first-ever movie event outside of the UK in Kabul.
So what is 'Secret Cinema'? According to their website, they're a "growing community of all that love cinema, and experiencing the unknown". The group organizes movie screenings without revealing the title of the film. Instead, they offer hints that film buffs may or may not be able to decode (a little bit like our own 'Secret Movie' event back in October). Event organizers dress up in costumes based on the film and screen the picture in unlikely locations.
According to founder Fabien Riggall, "the idea is that anyone, anywhere should have access to film". Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, Afghans have been able to watch Indian, Afghan and Pakistani films, but Western movies are hard to come by. Riggall said 'Secret Cinema' was inspired to hold a screening in Kabul by Afghanistan-based artist Travis Beard, who organized a music festival in the city earlier this year - the first of its kind in decades.
For the Kabul screening, the location was kept secret until shortly before the movie started in order to keep participants safe. The only way to find out where to go was to SMS organizers shortly before the screening. And the name of the movie? In the spirit of their organization, 'Secret Cinema' wants to keep that, well, a secret.
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